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Seer case: Wanted woman meets cops, is a cancer patient

Seer case: Wanted woman meets cops, is a cancer patient

Author: PTI
Publication: The New Indian Express
Date: November 30, 2004

Usha, a woman from Srirangam, wanted by police for  interrogation in connection with the Sankararaman murder case, in which  Kanchi seer Jayendra Saraswathi was arrested, on Tuesday "presented  herself" before the police here.

Sudha Ramalingam and Arivu Nidhi, the two advocates representing her,  told newsmen that Usha was not "hiding or absconding" as was made out by  the prosecution on Monday and "she is very much available here for any  inquiry."

The advocates said Usha was a cancer patient and she was a beneficiary  of Kanchi mutt's "generous help."

"She (Usha) is not absconding or hiding and she had presented herself  before the police here for any inquiry," the advocates told newsmen in  Usha's presence.

During the hearing of the bail plea of the seer, the prosecution had  told the Madras High Court on Monday that the pontiff had extensive  telephonic conversations with Usha at Srirangam.

"We wanted to interrogate her but she had made herself scarce and is  absconding," Tulsi, senior Supreme Court lawyer, appearing for the Tamil  Nadu government, had said.

In the counter-affidavit, police had contended that the conversation  between the seer and Usha used to last even for 900 pulse units. The  woman was provided with free quarters and large amount of money was  periodically transferred to her through bank transactions.

"Her involvement in the conspiracy and other allied matters were being  probed since the seer regularly spoke to her before and after the  murder," police had contended.

Usha drove from Chennai to the district police office here and appeared  before the additional superintendent of police, Bhuvaneshwari.

Sudha Ramalingam said since Usha heard the TV news last night saying  that she was absconding, she chose to present herself before the police  on Tuesday.

Sudha said this was not a "surrender. She is only presenting herself.  Usha is blameless and there is no case on her now."

Sudha said "Usha has been suffering from many ailments from the time she  was 20 years old and she was now suffering from breast cancer."

She had to undergo many sittings of chemotherapy and had to be  hospitalised several times. It was her husband, Narayanan, who had  approached the Kanchi acharya for medical help.  Narayanan "went broke" in business and following heavy debts, he  deserted Usha. The medical expenses were met because of the help from  the mutt and from Usha's relatives, Sudha said adding that the police  had visited her house in Srirangam, near Tiruchirappalli, and made  enquiries there on october 12.

The police did not find it necessary to make any further investigations,  but the house owners became uneasy about it and Usha had to vacate the  house. She has been staying with her relatives in Chennai all these  days, Sudha said.

Usha's brother, Jagannathan, who was also present during the press  conference, said at one stage, Usha went to the extent of committing  suicide because of her ill-health and lack of means to meet the  expenses.

"It was then that she received help as well as solace from the Kanchi  acharya," Jagannathan said adding that Usha did not reside in Kanchi  mutt but contacted the mutt only through phone.

"It is extremely uncivilised to adduce any pervert or sexual overtones  to this," Sudha said.

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